As the lack of language skills remains one of the main barriers to the participation in European education, training and youth mobility opportunities, OLS makes linguistic support accessible in a flexible and easy way. It also contributes to a specific objective of the Erasmus+ programme, which is to promote language learning and linguistic diversity.
More than 350,000 Erasmus+ participants test their language skills with OLS every year and have the opportunity to improve their level with OLS language courses. On average, participants who follow courses actively improve their proficiency by at least one CEFR level (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
Who can benefit from it?
The OLS is currently available for
- programme country higher education students going on mobility for studies abroad for 3-12 months or carrying out traineeships for 2-12 months between programme countries
- vocational education and training learners (VET) going on mobility for studying or training abroad
- young volunteers undertaking an Erasmus+ or European Solidarity Corps volunteering activity (2-12 months)
OLS is available for all European official languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Estonian, Spanish, Finnish, French, Irish Gaelic, Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish.
How does it work?
By taking the OLS language assessment before going abroad, Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps participants are able to determine their proficiency in the language they will use to study, work or volunteer. Taking this assessment before departure is a pre-requisite for higher education students, to make sure that they meet the recommended level at their receiving organisation (except for native speakers or in duly justified cases). The results of the language assessment do not prevent participants from taking part in Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes.
Participants who wish to improve their language proficiency have the opportunity to follow an online language course before and during their time abroad. Access to the language course includes a great variety of Live Coaching activities, amongst which tutoring sessions and interactive MOOCs. Participants can also follow a language course in the language of the country as well, provided that such language is available in OLS.
In cases where the main language is not covered by OLS, linguistic support is provided through other means by the sending or the receiving organisation. Upon their return, participants take the final assessment, which allows them to measure the progress made during their stay abroad.
How to participate?
If you have already been selected to go abroad with the Erasmus+ or European Solidarity Corps programmes and you meet the above criteria, your institution or organisation will send you a login and a password to access the OLS assessment and language course, if applicable.
Erasmus+ Online Linguistic Support for Refugees
Following the migration crisis, the European Commission opened up OLS to 100,000 refugees over a 3-year period, accessible on a voluntary basis and free of charge, mobilising a €4 million budget. The aim was to support the efforts of EU countries to integrate refugees into Europe's education and training systems and ensure their skills development. Since the launch of this initiative, access to more than 10,000 language courses were provided to refugees in participating countries.